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A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children

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Caroline Kennedy has chosen a rich variety of Kennedy family favorite poems to include in this priceless collection. With thoughtful personal introductions written by Caroline herself, and beautiful new original artwork by award-winning artist, Jon J Muth, this collection is sure to become a family favorite for years to come.


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Caroline Kennedy has chosen a rich variety of Kennedy family favorite poems to include in this priceless collection. With thoughtful personal introductions written by Caroline herself, and beautiful new original artwork by award-winning artist, Jon J Muth, this collection is sure to become a family favorite for years to come.

30 review for A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Last Thursday, I got this hardbound pristine book from a second-hand bookstore. I have always liked to read poetry but there are those that I do not understand. So, when I saw that this book contains poems for children and it is written by Caroline Kennedy (born 1957), the only surviving child of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and the tag price was P180 ($4), why not? The book contains the poems that became her favorites when she was a child because these were t Last Thursday, I got this hardbound pristine book from a second-hand bookstore. I have always liked to read poetry but there are those that I do not understand. So, when I saw that this book contains poems for children and it is written by Caroline Kennedy (born 1957), the only surviving child of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and the tag price was P180 ($4), why not? The book contains the poems that became her favorites when she was a child because these were the poems that her mom, dad, granddad and grand mom used to read to her and her two brothers, John and Patrick. For one, her mother, Jackie Kennedy was a lover of poems. She even has her own poem here. In fact, most of these poems still remind her of the gentle soothing voice of their mother when she was about to sleep. That included the feeling of comfort and safe that even now when she is sad and lonely, she reads these poems to remind her of her mother, Jackie. Some were the favorites of her brothers and reading them reminded her of their sweet childhood memories. Quite timely too. This weekend is the Thanksgiving Weekend in the US. Last Thursday morning, a Filipina called Mo Twister in the radio program Goodtimes and greeted him ”Happy Thanksgiving Day” and Mo responded ”That’s for the Americans, if you are not an American, you should not care.” I disagree with him. We may not have the long weekend (except if you are working in a call center that services the US) but it is nice to step back and think of the things that we should be thankful about. Although I have to admit that I didn’t know anything about the history of Thanksgiving Day in the US. I have American colleagues in the office but I never bothered to ask. Thanks to the book. On one page is this poem that I liked so after reading it, I Googled the title and found the history of Thanksgiving Day. Read on. It is very appropriate for this weekend:IROQUOIS PRAYER We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us. We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with water. We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the care of our diseases. We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters, the beans and squashes, which give us life. We return thanks to the bushes and trees, which provide us with fruit. We return thanks to the wind, which, moving the air, has banished diseases. We return thanks to the moon and stars, which have given us their light when the sun was gone. We return thanks to our grandfather He-no, that he has protected his grandchildren from witches and reptiles, and has given to us his rain. We return thanks to the sun, that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye. Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in whom is embodied all goodness, and who directs all things for the good of his children. Anonymous What I really liked about this book is that, even if the title says that it is for children, this does not include your usual nursery rhymes. Rather, I found a lot of poems that are quoted in many literatures and I did not have any inkling where they came from like the poem about Mr. Mistoffelees, a character in the opera Cats. And I also read the full text of poems where familiar phrases came from like ”And miles to go before I sleep.” is from Robert Frost poem entitled Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. These are the poets whose works I really enjoyed reading in this book and I swear I will look for their books and read more of their poems: Edna St. Vincent Millay, Emily Dickinson, William Butler Yeats, Robert Frost, A. A. Milne, Ogden Nash, Dylan Thomas, Rainer Maria Rilke, T. S. Eliot, Basho, Christina Rossetti, Lewis Carol, William Blake, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Lord Tennyson, E. E. Cummings, Robert Browning, William Wordsworth, William Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda, Thomas Hardy, Jacqueline Bouvier (yes, she has her own poem here!), Federico Garcia Lorca, Sandra Cisneros, J. R. R. Tolkien, Seamus Heaney (yes, I like his poem here better than in “Seeing Things”), Slyvia Plath and Jorge Luis Borges. But my personal favorite is the strange but brilliant ”FROM COEUR COURONNE ET MIROIR” or FROM IMAGINE ANGELS by Cullaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), a French poet who wrote a collection of poems called “Calligrammes” with the words of the poem written in such a way that they form relevant figures. This particular poem included in the book forms a circle and it is very clever. Well thought of. I was just blown away.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    3.5 stars. This is a nice collection of poetry, every page has lots of colour and illustrations. We weren't keen on the style, a mix of realistic but with exaggerated comical faces, but they were bright and I expect would appeal to some children if not most. 3.5 stars. This is a nice collection of poetry, every page has lots of colour and illustrations. We weren't keen on the style, a mix of realistic but with exaggerated comical faces, but they were bright and I expect would appeal to some children if not most.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Well, I was disappointed in the editor's companion book, "Poems to Learn By Heart.' But I love Muth's art in his own books, so I decided to try this. Glad I did. Wonderful diverse selection, enchanting pictures. Many poems were new to me; so refreshing. Of the ones new to me, my favorite poem + art is p. 52, "Saint Francis and the Sow" by Galway Kinnell. Next favorite poem is "Snow in the Suburbs" by Thomas Hardy. Well, I was disappointed in the editor's companion book, "Poems to Learn By Heart.' But I love Muth's art in his own books, so I decided to try this. Glad I did. Wonderful diverse selection, enchanting pictures. Many poems were new to me; so refreshing. Of the ones new to me, my favorite poem + art is p. 52, "Saint Francis and the Sow" by Galway Kinnell. Next favorite poem is "Snow in the Suburbs" by Thomas Hardy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    carrietracy

    This anthology is one of the best available that I've seen. It doesn't talk down to children by only including silly, nonsense rhymes, but contains accessible works by important poets like Blake, William Carlos Williams, Frost, Emily Dickinson and Wordsworth. It is beautifully put together and I recommend it for anyone looking for a meaningful book either for their own children, or to be presented as a gift. This anthology is one of the best available that I've seen. It doesn't talk down to children by only including silly, nonsense rhymes, but contains accessible works by important poets like Blake, William Carlos Williams, Frost, Emily Dickinson and Wordsworth. It is beautifully put together and I recommend it for anyone looking for a meaningful book either for their own children, or to be presented as a gift.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nadine Jones

    I enjoyed Caroline Kennedy's other collections of poetry, so I decided to look at this one as well (okay, mostly for the Muth illustrations).  It's an odd assortment.  There are some short and silly poems (Ogden Nash is always a delight), and some lovely poems perfect for memorization (one can always rely on Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson), but there are also quite a few that I can't imagine have much appeal for children, such as Wallace Stevens' The Emperor of Ice Cream, which only seems like I enjoyed Caroline Kennedy's other collections of poetry, so I decided to look at this one as well (okay, mostly for the Muth illustrations).  It's an odd assortment.  There are some short and silly poems (Ogden Nash is always a delight), and some lovely poems perfect for memorization (one can always rely on Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson), but there are also quite a few that I can't imagine have much appeal for children, such as Wallace Stevens' The Emperor of Ice Cream, which only seems like a children's poem if you don't get past the title.  If you read the actual poem, it doesn't belong in this book at all: Call the roller of big cigars, The muscular one, and bid him whip In kitchen cups concupiscent curds. Let the wenches dawdle in such dress As they are used to wear, and let the boys Bring flowers in last month's newspapers. Let be be finale of seem. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream. Take from the dresser of deal, Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet On which she embroidered fantails once And spread it so as to cover her face. If her horny feet protrude, they come To show how cold she is, and dumb. Let the lamp affix its beam. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream. Sure, kids like ice cream, but that is a confusing poem with mature themes, and once you tease out the meaning, it's about a funeral, not something fun at all. The poems are organized into sections, and each section has an introduction (presumably written by Caroline Kennedy).  The section on "The Seashore" discusses how she and her family spent time at the shore, and highlights two particular poems by cummings & John Masefield.  That's fine, but the section opens with a poem by "Jacqueline Bouvier."  Is that Caroline Kennedy's mother?  Did she write many poems?  Was she young when she wrote this?  (presumably, since it's her maiden name.)  Was this poem a family favorite?   It's just odd that the introduction doesn't even mention it. My overall impression of this book: it's a chaotic mishmash thrown together without much thought, in an effort to capitalize on Kennedy's earlier success with previous poetry collections.  I have to wonder if she just threw together a bunch of poems that happened to be in the public domain.   Jon Muth's illustrations are lovely, as always, but they aren't enough to make this book worth reading. 

  6. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Everyone should read this book. Everyone should own This book. The illustrations are museum quality and the poems lift the spirit. The are especially made to be read aloud for children or adults.

  7. 4 out of 5

    SmarterLilac

    Gutsy and memorable. Kids need exposure to diverse poetry, so I was pleased to see the editor chose a wide selection of poems from and about all walks of life. Everyone from Naomi Shihab Nye to my beloved Langston Hughes is represented.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    That was refreshing. I definitely needed this. So, I know a lot of people don't like poetry, and I understand that. I find it so annoying when teachers give you poems and expect you to fully decipher it and understand it like the back of your hand. I JUST WANT TO ENJOY POEMS. DATS IT. I don't need to completely understand everything. Sometimes not fully understanding the poem is part of the enjoyment. Poems are windows into people's souls. Do we decipher every single thing that people do? Oh look That was refreshing. I definitely needed this. So, I know a lot of people don't like poetry, and I understand that. I find it so annoying when teachers give you poems and expect you to fully decipher it and understand it like the back of your hand. I JUST WANT TO ENJOY POEMS. DATS IT. I don't need to completely understand everything. Sometimes not fully understanding the poem is part of the enjoyment. Poems are windows into people's souls. Do we decipher every single thing that people do? Oh look, Taylor Swift ate a bagel today. There must be some motive behind this. Well maybe writers simply want to express a feeling. Today I feel happy. Well, why do you feel happy? Are you really happy? What if this is all just a facade? NO I JUST FEEL HAPPY OKAY AND NOW I'M NOT BECAUSE OF YOU. Ok sorry I just totally ranted. Back to the book. It's a genuinely good and timeless collection of poems. These are poems that you treasure, keep near and dear to your heart. Poems that inspire joy and happiness, but can also reflect your sadness and sorrow when you need it to. I enjoyed most all the poems that Caroline Kennedy chose for this book, and I've read it many times throughout the years, and it has never lost its charm or grace. It's a book with soul and love, and not to mention the gorgeous watercolor paintings in it, are to die for. (Don't die though, I want you to read this book). It's simply stunning, and I definitely will continue to reread it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    A_Susan

    Caroline Kennedy shares her family’s traditions and carefully selected, favorite poems for children in this anthology. The anthology contains poems divided into seven sections according to topics such as “About Me”, “That’s So Silly”, “The Seasons”, etc. The beloved poems from all over the world are written in a variety of styles by contemporary poets as well as old, well-known favorites. Caroline Kennedy begins her book with a well-written introduction and each section begins with its own piece Caroline Kennedy shares her family’s traditions and carefully selected, favorite poems for children in this anthology. The anthology contains poems divided into seven sections according to topics such as “About Me”, “That’s So Silly”, “The Seasons”, etc. The beloved poems from all over the world are written in a variety of styles by contemporary poets as well as old, well-known favorites. Caroline Kennedy begins her book with a well-written introduction and each section begins with its own piece written by Kennedy to her readers. She shares family traditions and feelings in a thoughtfully composed manner. Muth’s beautifully created watercolors add to and match the mood of the poems to further enrich the power of the poems themselves. The red-linen endpapers and the endearing picture of Kennedy as a youngster on the cover show how carefully and thoughtfully this anthology was compiled. This anthology would be an excellent addition to a school, classroom, or home library. Can be used for a poetry lesson and for a read aloud. Grades 2 and up. Hyperion Books for Children, New York 2005

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    A great selection of about 110 children's poems, with fantastic watercolor illustrations by Jon J. Muth (author & illustrator of "Zen Shorts"). My favorite poems out of this book were: "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost "The People Upstairs" by Ogden Nash "Today is Very Boring" by Jack Prelutsky "The Crocodile" by Lewis Caroll "The Tyger" by William Blake "April Rain Song" by Langston Hughes "The Daffodils" by William Wordsworth "Thoughts" by Jacqueline A great selection of about 110 children's poems, with fantastic watercolor illustrations by Jon J. Muth (author & illustrator of "Zen Shorts"). My favorite poems out of this book were: "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost "The People Upstairs" by Ogden Nash "Today is Very Boring" by Jack Prelutsky "The Crocodile" by Lewis Caroll "The Tyger" by William Blake "April Rain Song" by Langston Hughes "The Daffodils" by William Wordsworth "Thoughts" by Jacqueline Bouvier "Ode to a Pair of Socks" by Pablo Neruda "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost "The Mock Turtle's Song" by Lewis Carroll "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sassa

    This book was a delight to read. Each category of poems was introduced by a very personal note from Caroline Kennedy explaining why the poems were among her favorites. She wrote that her mother loved poetry and was very influential in her and her brother’s similar love. I think it is an excellent idea that the Kennedy children were encouraged to write or choose a favorite poem as gifts for holidays and birthdays. She said the scrapbooks of their poems are as telling as a photo book. Included are This book was a delight to read. Each category of poems was introduced by a very personal note from Caroline Kennedy explaining why the poems were among her favorites. She wrote that her mother loved poetry and was very influential in her and her brother’s similar love. I think it is an excellent idea that the Kennedy children were encouraged to write or choose a favorite poem as gifts for holidays and birthdays. She said the scrapbooks of their poems are as telling as a photo book. Included are poems by both well-known poets and not-quite-as-well-known. Two beautiful poems by Jacqueline Bouvier (Kennedy), Caroline’s mother, have been chosen. The illustrations by Jon Muth are gorgeous. The cover photo will pull her heartstrings if you remember Caroline Kennedy as a young child. Sweet!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kate Z

    This book is exactly what I was looking for: a collection of "regular" poems (not children's poems) selected to appeal to children. This collection is well curated and organized (not just rhyming and metered poems, diversity in views and time periods) and beautifully illustrated. Ella is not yet two, and she loves them. I do, too. We'll get a lot of use out of it. Can't recommend this highly enough, not just for kids. This book is exactly what I was looking for: a collection of "regular" poems (not children's poems) selected to appeal to children. This collection is well curated and organized (not just rhyming and metered poems, diversity in views and time periods) and beautifully illustrated. Ella is not yet two, and she loves them. I do, too. We'll get a lot of use out of it. Can't recommend this highly enough, not just for kids.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I highly recommend this book of poetry for all households with kids. Not only is it illustrated by Jon Muth (which is worthy of purchase alone), but the poems selected in this anthology were chosen with care and attention to particular themes, language, and variety. It's the best little collection of poems for children that I've found. I highly recommend this book of poetry for all households with kids. Not only is it illustrated by Jon Muth (which is worthy of purchase alone), but the poems selected in this anthology were chosen with care and attention to particular themes, language, and variety. It's the best little collection of poems for children that I've found.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    An amazing, amazing book of great poems chosen by Caroline Kennedy. The pictures are amazingly vivid, and it enhances the poetry beautifully. There are cute, funny, serious, and classic poems in here, and it is just a pleasure to read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jim Erekson

    This is a wonderful anthology to have on hand, because it offers such a broad survey of poets and includes poetry not written specifically for children--but which is memorable and interesting. I appreciate the clear promotion of learning poems to recite--to have as my own!

  16. 5 out of 5

    JoAnn

    To those who know me it's obvious why I love this book of poetry. I even have a copy in my classroom. To those who know me it's obvious why I love this book of poetry. I even have a copy in my classroom.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    The only thing better than the smart and witty selection of poems is Jon Muth's fabulous watercolors. It's one of my very favorites. The only thing better than the smart and witty selection of poems is Jon Muth's fabulous watercolors. It's one of my very favorites.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marlies

    Great gift or to share with kids

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    I love this book. I don't remember exactly where I got it - maybe from a used book sale - but I have treasured it ever since. I don't care so much for the non-rhyming stuff, but I admire its variety. It features poets from Ogden Nash to Robert Frost to William Blake. Some of my particular favorites are J. R. R. Tolkien's "Goblin Feet" and Ogden Nash's "The Porcupine," but this book also introduced to (or, helped me to appreciate) such classic poems as "The Road Not Taken" and Wordsworth's "Daffo I love this book. I don't remember exactly where I got it - maybe from a used book sale - but I have treasured it ever since. I don't care so much for the non-rhyming stuff, but I admire its variety. It features poets from Ogden Nash to Robert Frost to William Blake. Some of my particular favorites are J. R. R. Tolkien's "Goblin Feet" and Ogden Nash's "The Porcupine," but this book also introduced to (or, helped me to appreciate) such classic poems as "The Road Not Taken" and Wordsworth's "Daffodils." This is a great collection to inspire a love of poetry in readers of any age.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chloe Farrell

    I would refer to this book as the Holy Grail of children's poetry. I received it as a gift when I was in elementary school, and never opened it until now. I really appreciate this book because not only is it written by one of the greatest Presidential families, but it also has hundred's of different poems referencing topics from the Bible, humor, animals, seasons, adventure, and bed time stories. I believe there is a poem in here for every student because it considers different reading levels an I would refer to this book as the Holy Grail of children's poetry. I received it as a gift when I was in elementary school, and never opened it until now. I really appreciate this book because not only is it written by one of the greatest Presidential families, but it also has hundred's of different poems referencing topics from the Bible, humor, animals, seasons, adventure, and bed time stories. I believe there is a poem in here for every student because it considers different reading levels and vocabulary.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Sheetz

    Beautifully illustrated wide variety of mostly poems by well known poets - Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Pablo Neruda, Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Ogden Nash, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent Millay, William Butler Yates, Walt Whitman, etc. and some lesser known ones. Good book for lesson on poetry due to wide variety and styles (for grades 3rd through 6th). Classroom library 2nd through 6th grade.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    I needed to read a book that is out of my comfort zone and I picked this one. I am not big poem fan. I really loved the watercolors in this book and I actually enjoyed reading the poems. It would be fun to read these poems aloud to someone like my grand kids. My favorite has to be Robert Frost's poem about the two roads. I needed to read a book that is out of my comfort zone and I picked this one. I am not big poem fan. I really loved the watercolors in this book and I actually enjoyed reading the poems. It would be fun to read these poems aloud to someone like my grand kids. My favorite has to be Robert Frost's poem about the two roads.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    So many good memories of childhood are brought out by many familiar poems. And there are many new poems -the international flavor of the poems is very satisfying. My favorite section is the humorous one. I was happy to read 2 poems by Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. They were both very enjoyable.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steph Lovelady

    A really nice collection of poems for children, with handsome watercolor illustrations. There's an appendix at the back with the original text of all translated poems. It's divided thematically (About Me, That's So Silly!, Animals, etc.) Kennedy seems especially fond of Edna St. Vincent Millay, e.e. cummings, Langston Hughes, and Robert Frost. A really nice collection of poems for children, with handsome watercolor illustrations. There's an appendix at the back with the original text of all translated poems. It's divided thematically (About Me, That's So Silly!, Animals, etc.) Kennedy seems especially fond of Edna St. Vincent Millay, e.e. cummings, Langston Hughes, and Robert Frost.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ramona

    I enjoyed this collection of poems, very much. I was reminded of my own childhood in the 1960s, and then again of the time I raised my own children and read to them. The illustrations and photographs add to the wonderment of the book. It has great historical value as well. A true gem.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Callie *Fights Censorship*

    A nice collection of classic poems, great if you are the type of parent who wants to read their kids Robert Frost and Shakespeare instead of Silverstein or Dr. Seuss. This is the type of poetry collection you would expect from a Kennedy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jose Bustillo

    This is a collection of poems for children ages 10-15. It is a beautifully artistic book with water color illustrations and small introductions to each part. The book does have poems that are a bit harder for some kids but has plenty for everybody.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    One of the best poem anthologies I've seen in a long time - the beautiful illustrations only serve to enhance it! I recommend for both children and adults. One of the best poem anthologies I've seen in a long time - the beautiful illustrations only serve to enhance it! I recommend for both children and adults.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cherie Loar

    A delightful collection of poems to share with your child. I read this with my son at the age of 9. We would read it again. It would be appropriate for children younger as well.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    This is a beautiful collection of poems by many wonderful and diverse authors. This illustrations are watercolor paintings by the talented Jon Muth.

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